Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stranded with a broken motorcycle in Patagonia 600 km from the tip of South America!

So today truly begins the worst day of this trip by far.

So I left El Calafate to head to Torres de Paine N.P.

I drove about 200 miles out of the city; I eventually hit a dirt road that would take me to the park.

This dirt road was completely desolate and lacked any vehicle what so ever.

Completely no where!

As I stopped to take a quick picture of the road, my engine ceased to function and just stopped.

I thought nothing of it and tried to turn it back on, but it wouldn’t’ start. So I tried a few more times until the most awful grinding and metallic clanking sound occurred, it sounded as if rocks were grinding and floating inside the engine.

I was being optimistic and thought it was just the spark plug that was bad because of the sound it was making.

So I took apart the entire bike to reach the spark plug to change the spark plug, that took about an hour and a half or so due to the high winds and un-mounting of y rear pelican case to reach the emergency spare tools.

I changed the spark plug, tired to turn on the moto again, and nothing, same awful sound. I almost cried….not really.

Not the issue, but still a good idea to change


That’s when I knew I had serious motor and internal problems I was unable to fix where I was at with the bad weather roaming in. Not to mention I was on a very desolate road 30 miles from absolutely anything.

So I made the tough choice of asking for help. I have yet to ask for help on this trip and wasn’t too keen on it, but I knew I had no other alternative.

So I waited for a vehicle to drive by to flag them down for help…. 1hour passed….2 hours passed, nothing! …..3 hours passed… a car drove by but was of no help…..4 hours passed….another car drove by and offered to help…all I couldn’t think of was for them to pull me to safety.

So we tried it, and failed, after being dragged on the floor along with the bike a couple of times we called it quits. Loose gravel and towing a motorcycle is a bad combination!

I told the nice lady in the car to please notify any officials or police she saw on the way of a stranded motorcycle on this road.

5 hours passed, and finally a police truck drove by, then another two cars finally passed through the road, apparently the police got my message, and at the very same time 2 cars showed up simultaneously, just my luck I could have used them 5 hours ago!

At this point in time I was slightly unsure what the mechanical issue was and everyone tried to help, but nothing worked as I knew I was truly screwed.



I knew I was in deep trouble the moment I hear the first noise and allowed them to mess with the bike jus to humor them, I still didn’t want to accept the fact that my motorcycle was seriously dead and I couldn’t do a thing about it.


Funny enough his guy you see here was also stranded further back down the road and the other guy passed by to help him and gave him a jump start. I was next in line for the help it seems.

So the police helped me transport the motorcycle to their remote station in a stop called Tapie Aike.

I had to straddle the bike for 2 hours balancing myself on the truck holding he bike from falling off in the freezing cold wind on the bumpiest of gravel roads.



We arrived at their station and there was nothing! Just a lonely closed gas station and a small building.

They told me this was as far as they could tow me.





They also told me it was a holiday weekend so there wouldn’t be any traffic on the road. Great, this adventure just got ridiculous.

I realized that the only way to go was to transport my motorcycle and myself to the closest city, which was 200 miles away.

So it was now late afternoon and I decided to stand on the side of the road for help just in case any vehicles passed by.



It was 9pm and no one had passed by, so I called it a day.

The police were very nice and let me sleep inside their small building, the Patagonia is quite windy and was happy I at least didn’t have to deal with a broken tent in the wind again.

This was by far the worst day of the trip, and it would only get worse.